If you are a small business, you should have a website so can communicate to potential and existing customers. Amazingly, “fewer than half of all U.S. small businesses have websites or advertise on the Net, Nielsen Online reports, even though most consumers search online for local shops and services before picking up the phone or leaving the house”, according to BusinessWeek.
If you want to set up a website for your small business or upgrade your site to look more professional, you can either hire an affordable online marketing firm like Sparkplug Digital or you can do it yourself. If you are interested in learning how to do this, I will show you how in this article.
Step 1. Register your domain
The first step is to register your domain. If you have not already done this you can buy a domain registration for 1 year for about 10 bucks. The most popular site for this is GoDaddy, but I prefer Netfirms because it is slightly less expensive. Ideally, your domain name will be the name of your business like www.thepurplecafe.com or seattleantiques.com. Having the name of your location can have a strong positive impact on your search rankings, but most of the time it is better to go with your business name.
Step 2. Get a Hosting Account
A website hosting account is needed to store the data of your website and serve the data to people who come to your site. I recommend getting a hosting account at Host Monster because it is about 6 or 7 bucks a month and that is what I’m basing this tutorial on. Other hosting providers include Host Gator or An Hosting.
Step 3. Point your Domain to your Hosting Account
In order for your site to show up to people who go to your domain, you must first point your domain to your hosting account. To do this log into your domain registrar account and change your DNS settings of your domain so that your nameservers are changed to NS1.HOSTMONSTER.COM and NS2.HOSTMONSTER.COM. (When using netfirms you have to click on the security tab first and unlock the domain to make changes to the nameservers).
Step 4. Add On Your New Domain at Your Hosting Account
Now log into your hosting account and you should see the control panel which displays all the options for your hosting account. Find and click on “AddOn Domains”. Now just type in your domain in the appropriate field as shown below.
It should say that ownership of this domain is verified because you just changed the nameservers to point to the hosting accounts servers in the previous step. Then just click on the “Add Domain” button at the bottom of the screen. If the form is accepted then the new domain has been added successfully.
Step 5. Install WordPress
You should still be logged into your hosting account. Go to the home screen that shows all the options (cpanel). Find and click on “WordPress”. Click on Install a brand new version.
You will see the Installation Preferences. First under “Where would you like WordPress to be installed” select your domain from the drop down menu. Under advanced options you can give your site a title, and set your user name and password. Make sure “Automatically create a new database.” is checked. Check the box to agree to the terms of service and hit “Complete”.
After you hit Complete it will show the following success screen.
Click on the link for Login URL and it will send you to the WordPress login page, where you can enter your username and password you just set to log into WordPress. Your site is now live.
Step 6. Changing your Site Appearance
Now you can start adding new blog posts or new pages or you can change the theme to something you like. Log back into WordPress by going to yoursite.com/wp-admin and go to “Appearance” and then click on “Themes”. Click on the tab for “Install Themes” and click “upload”. From here you can upload themes that you find online. There are thousands of free and paid themes that you can find on the web.
The install didn’t work for me (probably because my theme Zip file was too large) so the alternative is uploading the Zip file of the WordPress Theme directly into the file folder in the domain that was set up by going to the control panel of your hosting account and clicking on “File Manager”. You can navigate to your theme folder (yoursite.com/wp-content/themes) for your domain and upload the Zip file.
After you upload the Zip file, you will need to select the file and click on “Extract”.
Once the files have been extracted you can now log back into WordPress and go back to the theme section. It should show the new theme that you just uploaded.
Click activate, and your site will now reflect your new theme.
Now you just need to add all the content to your site and you now have a new website.
Feel free to ask any questions you may in the comments or you can email me at charles(at)sparkplugdigital.com.
If you don’t want to figure out how to get your site running on your own, you can also hire us to build an attractive website for your business starting at $500. You can go here to request a free quote.